The life of Dr. King

A cloth poster of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Pictured above is a cloth poster of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Jan. 15, 2021. Dr. King is remembered by his unwavering dedication for equal rights and justice for all. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman William Turnbull)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --

The life of Dr. King was filled with sacrifice, commitment and perseverance. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more than a man, he was also a movement. 

He came from humble beginnings in Atlanta, Georgia, by the name of Michael Luther King Jr. He would later follow in his father’s footsteps to change his name to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant religious leader, who was credited with starting the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Young King attended Morehouse College and received a sociology degree before attending the Liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, King pursued his doctorate at Boston University, where he later met his future wife, Coretta Scott. Before finishing his program, King had become a pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery. He completed his Ph.D., in 1955 at the age of twenty five.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his civil rights campaign in December of 1955 with the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). MIA had elected King as its president, because of his constant pursuance of equality in the American South. Whether through organizing peaceful protests or making speeches, King paved a way for the future. He also wrote six books on his journey as a civil rights leader and activist; his most revered writing was “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” To this day, his accomplishments are taught to American children and his teachings are studied by scholars worldwide.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was well known for his selfless acts and volunteerism as a civil rights activist, a father and as a minister. He traveled up to 6 million miles across the nation, and spoke over twenty five hundred times on civil rights issues and injustices. King gave us a shining example of servant leadership. In 1995, Congress declared that every third Monday in January would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day; a day to remember, a day to reflect and a day to celebrate our American freedoms. It has been said that this Monday is “not a day off,” but rather a day to reinvigorate King’s spirit of peaceful activism and the pursuit of equality for all.

Each year the Department of Defense, along with many other government agencies and millions of Americans, honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by celebrating his birthday through community service and involvement, averaging roughly three billion hours of community service nationwide. Look upon this day as a challenge to yourself to get involved with an organization or a cause that you’re passionate about and practice the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” ― Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.